Introduction / History
The Tanaoli are a Muslim people who live in northern Pakistan. The Tanaoli reside in the central pre-Himalayan mountains to the north of the Punjab. Tanaoli men are known as fierce warriors who defend their people and their lands. Animal husbandry and farming are their two main occupations.
The primary language of the Tanaoli is Northern Hindko. Many of the men also speak Urdu, the national language of Pakistan. Only Bible portions are available in Northern Hindko. There are few if any Tanaoli believers.
What are their lives like?
The social structures of the Tanaoli emphasize the strength of blood ties. Their communal life is ruled by strict rules of honor and arbitration by elders. Violence and feuds are common within the Tanaoli tirbe and with other peoples who live in northern Pakistan.
The Tanaoli live in an area that is difficult to enter, because of the terrain and because of the political and religious situation. Foreign missionaries would not be welcome by the Pakistani government or by the Muslim Tanaoli.
Unfortunately, many of the Tanaoli women and girls are unable to read and write. Girls often quit school to help their families make a living and take care of younger children. Many Tanaoli men only possess the basic rudiments of literacy. A few Tanaoli men have become educated and hold positions in government, education and trade.
Families and young people arrange marriages. Tanaoli marry within their group. A man may have up to four wives if he can afford them. Most men have only one wife. Tanaoli have large families as children especially boys are viewed as blessing from Allah. Sons inherit their father's property. Many children die before their tenth birthday due to lack of access of modern medical care.
What are their beliefs?
The Tanaoli people in Pakistan are Sunni Muslims. They believe that the supreme God, Allah, spoke through his prophet, Mohammed, and taught mankind how to live a righteous life through the Koran and the Hadith. To live a righteous life, you must utter the Shahada (a statement of faith), pray five times a day facing Mecca, fast from sunup to sundown during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca if you have the means. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, slandering, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at a mosque, their place of worship.
The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.
Sunni religious practices are staid and simple. They believe that Allah has pre-determined our fates; they minimize free will.
In most of the Muslim world, people depend on the spirit world for their daily needs since they regard Allah as too distant. Allah may determine their eternal salvation, but the spirits determine how well we live in our daily lives. For that reason, they must appease the spirits. They often use charms and amulets to help them fight evil spirits.
What are their needs?
The Tanaoli would benefit by access to modern medicine. Their girls need good schools. Tanaoli men need to learn new job skills for the 21th century. Most of all, the Tanaoli need to hear and accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and bring them peace with God.
Pray the Lord send loving workers to the Tanaoli.
Pray that radio programs become available in Northern Hindko and that the Tanaoli would listen to these programs.
Pray for peace and stable conditions for the Tanaoli people, and for the ability to care adequately for their families.
Pray that God begins a discipleship making movement among the Tanaoli this decade.